Essay about Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

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Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
Introductions to Addictions Human-1125-Net02
Mary Beth Mulcahy
October 14, 2013

Drinking alcohol pre-pregnancy or during pregnancy can cause abnormalities in the infant which is a condition called fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), or a less severe condition termed fetal alcohol effects (FAE). Sometimes these conditions in combination are termed fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) as stated in “Loosening the Grip”. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that “FASDs are 100% preventable. If a woman doesn’t drink alcohol while she is pregnant, the child cannot have an FASD.” When a pregnant mother drinks alcohol, her unborn baby does too. Alcohol in the mother’s blood passes through the placenta to the baby through the umbilical cord. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, and a range of lifelong disorders. Nursing mothers who drink alcohol can pass the alcohol to the baby through the breast milk. The effects on the children with FASDs are huge. Drinking alcohol in the first three months of pregnancy can cause the baby to have abnormal facial features, growth, central nervous system problems and low birth weight. The baby’s brain is developing throughout pregnancy and can be damaged at any time.
Listed below are the possible characteristics and behaviors found in children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder stated in Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
• Abnormal facial features, such as smooth ridge between nose and upper lip
• Small head size
• Shorter than average height
• Low body weight
• Poor coordination
• Hyperactive behavior
• Difficulty paying attention
• Poor memory
• Difficulty in school (especially with math)
• Learning disabilities
• Speech and language delays
• Intellectual disability or low IQ
• Poor reasoning and judgment skills
• Sleep and sucking problems as a baby
• Vision and hearing problems
• Problems with heart, kidney, or bones
Children also have problems with feeding and are very irritable. Sleeping and eating are so irregular that it is hard for the baby to be cared for, and can also cause a problem with the bonding with the mother. These children are very affectionate but at the same time hyperactive which is hard for teachers when they enter preschool. Many of these children require special education help because of their hyper activity, short attention span and poor memory.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) in the article of Fetal Alcohol Exposure states “Drinking during pregnancy can cause brain damage, leading to a range of developmental, cognitive, and behavioral problems which can appear at any time during childhood. Fetal Alcohol spectrum Disorders (FASD) is the umbrella term for the different diagnoses, which include Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, partial Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Alcohol related neurodevelopmental disorder, and Alcohol-related birth defects. People with FASD often have difficulty in the following areas: coordination, emotional control, school work, socialization and holding a job. In addition, they often make bad decisions, repeat the same mistakes, trust the wrong people, and do not understand the consequences of their actions. In addition to how much, how often, and in what stage of pregnancy a woman drinks, other factors can also play a role in how fetal alcohol exposure affects children. These factors include: poor health and inadequate nutrition, living in a culture where binge or heavier drinking is common and accepted, little awareness of FASD, not receiving adequate prenatal care, social isolation, and exposure to higher levels of stress.”
Fetal Alcohol syndrome article by Mayo Clinic states that (FAS) is a condition that includes physical deformities, mental retardation, learning disorders, vision difficulties and behavioral problems. The problems vary from child to child, but the defects are irreversible. Fetal…